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Condoleezza Rice IV With Greek State Broadcasting

Interview With Michael Grypiotis, Greek State Broadcasting

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Athens, Greece
April 25, 2006

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, I would like to welcome you to Athens.


QUESTION: And I would like to start with what's making headlines: The President of Iran (inaudible) that the UN Security Council would not impose sanctions in his country and he also stated that he will not stop the enrichment of uranium. What is your response to this bold statement?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, whenever the Iranian regime makes statements of this kind it only deepens its own isolation, because of course the international community has spoken through a Security Council presidential statement that says that Iran should stop its enrichment activities, to suspend them and return to negotiations. That's the policy of the Security Council and therefore representative of the entire international community. And I'm still hopeful that Iran recognizes that indeed there will be further steps by the Security Council, particularly, if it continues this defiance.

QUESTION: Do you think that the Security Council will manage to come to an agreement this time, even come to an agreement when the one before the war in Iraq? Do you think it will come to an agreement this time on Iran?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, it's an important point because the international community needs to remain united. And if we remain united and make clear to Iran that there is only one course and that is to accept the will of the international community then I think Iran will have no choice but to do so, because it is really risking great isolation from the international community. I believe that we will achieve that kind of unity. It's also important to note that the Security Council is, by far, the most important vehicle. But if we cannot achieve unity in the Security Council there may be states that wish to take other actions. And by that I mean through financial or other means.

I want to be very clear: the President of the United States doesn't take any of his options off the table. But we understand that Iran is not Iraq. This is a very different situation and we believe that the diplomatic course and the many, many tools that we have on the diplomatic side will ultimately succeed.

QUESTION: You mentioned Iraq. And -- media outlets in the United States and Europe, they're reporting that Iraq is on the verge of civil war. Do you think that the election of the new prime minister will help to avoid such a conflict?

SECRETARY RICE: The Iraqis themselves have done nothing but try to unify themselves. They have withstood many, many attempts by people who would try to plunge them into civil conflict and sectarian violence, time and time again, by talking about their need to form a national unity government. Now they are well on their way to forming that national unity government with a prime minister who's spoken eloquently about the need to overcome sectarian tensions. They have a long way to go. But for a country that for so many, many years, solved its problems by conflict, by violence, by repression, to be in a position where they're now trying to solve those conflicts by politics and by compromise is quite remarkable. And I think they are to be congratulated for what they've achieved thus far, even though they have a hard road still ahead.

QUESTION: You'll be in Turkey in a few hours and we know that the United States Government would like to see Turkey a full member of the European Union. Nevertheless, after (inaudible) the Turkish Government is not -- is showing delay fulfilling some of its commitments. What is your comment?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we've been very clear that we do believe that Turkey has a European future and that Turkey is a part of Europe and that European accession makes sense and we've been very supportive of that. We've also said that, of course, Turkey has to fulfill its obligations. But this requires on both sides goodwill. It requires continuing to work through the problems in a practical way. At every stage it has gone forward and that I think is the most important indication that Turkey wants very much to have the European accession work and that Europe wants to have it work.

QUESTION: What is in your agenda in your visit to Turkey?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, when I'm in Turkey I will talk, first and foremost, about many of the things that I will talk about here. About -- Turkey and Greece, of course, are both NATO members. NATO has obligations in Afghanistan. It's important to talk about that. We are all trying to be supportive of a national unity government in Iraq where Iraq will be a stable democracy in the center of the Middle East. We all have interests in the further democratization of the Middle East. And of course I am also very interested in some of the regional issues in which we are active together, like the Balkans and trying to bring about a more peaceful and democratic Balkans.

QUESTION: When someone talks about Greece and Turkey, you have, of course, to talk about Cyprus. For the Greek and Greek Cypriot governments, the Annan plan for solution in Cyprus is considered dead? Do you foresee a new (inaudible) in the near future, and if yes, in what form?

SECRETARY RICE: We do need to explore what the foundation could be for moving forward on Cyprus. We need a resolution on Cyprus. It's been too long and it should be resolved. We were very disappointed that the Annan plan was not adopted. And now I think it is important to go back and to see what elements could be arranged to get to a new resolution of the Cyprus conflict. But it's been far too long and it is continuing to retard the development of what should be a very unified area, because as long as this issue is there it will retard development of this region.

QUESTION: And my last question, coming back to the first question actually, when is the time of diplomacy over for Iran?

SECRETARY RICE: I don't see that the diplomacy has run its course by any stretch of the imagination. We're really just beginning in the diplomatic course. The negotiations between the European Union and Iran, then later the entry of Russia into those discussions with a different approach to Iran, that was one phase and it's a phase that we would like to get back to if Iran is going to return to negotiations. But we're now in a more serious phase. That is, that we are in the Security Council. Greece, of course, is a member of the Security Council and has therefore special responsibilities, but we have many tools at our disposal before anyone starts to talk about the end of diplomacy. I'm a firm believer that this diplomatic course is going to work if we stay united, if we show the Iranians that there is no other course, that Iran will reconsider its ways and with enough unity Iran will have no choice but to adhere to the demands of the international system.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.




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